A Freshman Girl's Guide to College Formals

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DO wear comfortable shoes.

Think about the fashion and the functionality of your shoes. If you’ve always had trouble walking in high heels, you might want to choose low heels or wedges instead. “You do not want to wear super uncomfortable shoes that you can’t walk let alone dance in, because it sucks to be sitting down at a formal all night when the whole idea is to dance and have fun,” says Annie*, a Delta Gamma sister at Harvard.
DON'T do a prom updo.

This will make you look like a high-schooler (something I’m sure you don’t want).  Instead, wear your hair straight, in loose waves, or in a chic, loose bun. Turn this into a pre-pregame event and do each other’s hair before you head over to pictures.

drinkinggoing out college

DO pregame with classy drinks (if you’re going to drink).

Get ready for a night of drinking something other than cheap handles of vodka. Usually the guys will pitch in and buy higher quality liquor or even champagne (how thoughtful of them!). “Mixed drinks are the way to go,” says Dana, a TriDelt sister at the University of Michigan, “Vodka tonic is a good drink choice because it won’t stain your dress.” But be careful, especially if you’re under 21. If you show up to a formal visibly inebriated, you could be ushered right back on the bus.

DON’T bring a fake ID or a flask.

This is a risk you don’t want to take even if your fake works at every bar in your college town.  Formals are usually held off-campus at places that are stricter on rules. If you’re underage and plan on drinking, be smart and safe about it. You do not want to get caught by the staff and sent home with your date—or worse—be sent to jail. “I went to a formal sophomore year and the guy at the door took all the underage attendees’ IDs away from them. I thought I would be fine to sneak a drink, but after I took a sip of my vodka cranberry, I was approached by a bartender and told I would be kicked out if he caught me drinking again,” says Tonya*, a junior at Central Michigan University. According to Amanda, the staff usually checks bags too, which is why you should never try sneaking in liquor in a flask.
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DO remember to eat.

The food is part of the deal so eat up. “Often formals are buffet style and the food isn't out for too long, but you don't want to be starving for the rest of the night—or worse, get sick from drinking on an empty stomach,” Amanda says. Follow the same dinner protocol you would at a normal date: enjoy your meal, but don’t forget to practice good table manners.
DON’T get blackout drunk.

It’s a widely known fact that drinking will occur at formal, but you don’t want to be the girl who pounds shot after shot with the guys and then ends up on the bathroom floor the rest of the night. Know your limits and stick to them; slurring your words isn’t sexy. “A girl in my house got so drunk at the pregame last year that she didn’t even make it to formal,” says Melanie, a Alpha Chi Omega sister at Michigan State University. “She woke up and asked her date how it was, and he said,  “we didn’t make it; you were too drunk.’” You do not want to be that girl…


About The Author

Erica Avesian is a successful young professional in the marketing industry. In her current role, she plans and executes high-end events and marketing projects for a variety of luxury and automotive clients. Erica has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan with specializations in Communication Studies and Writing. She is an experienced writer who loves blogging about her personal experiences as a college girl and writing how-to guides for recent grads. When she's not writing, you can find her styling outfits for her best friends, traveling with her family, and hanging out at her happy place, Starbucks. Erica is obsessed with fashion magazines, Disney, and the color pink. In the future Erica would love to start her own online publication or be the next hit talk show host.